I’ve got good news about the Special Operations forces military exercise designated Jade Helm 15. You may recall the many conspiracy theories surrounding the exercise, mostly centered on the notion that the Special Operations forces were rehearsing for a government takeover of Texas in advance of declaring martial law. That theory was buttressed by a map showing several southwestern states marked as “hostile territory.”
Well,, you can relax…mostly. The Pentagon announced that the exercise is now over.
“At this time, we do not have any lessons learned to share since we have not yet conducted an after-action review of the exercise, but we do believe the exercise overall was a success,” Nagl said in an e-mail.
As initially detailed in planning documents, the exercise was to include elite service members from four military branches. It eventually was reduced to include 200 Special Operations forces and an additional 300 support personnel for most of the exercise, with about 700 hundred members of the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division traveling to Texas to train as part of Jade Helm for about five days in August.
The story began garnering attention in March, after planning slides for the exercise, likely prepared for government officials in Texas, began circulating online. They labeled Texas, Utah and a section of southern California as hostile territory, and New Mexico as uncertain territory leaning hostile.
The military has routinely held training exercises like Jade Helm in the past. But this one took on a life of its own before it even began. An informational meeting attended by citizens and local government officials in Bastrop, Tex., in April generated national attention after several people accused the federal government of preparing for a takeover.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) ordered the Texas State Guard, a militia he oversees, to monitor the exercise. He said he did so to address the concerns of Texans, but was mocked by some critics for giving voice to conspiracy theories.
Abbott was laughed at, but he was only being prudent. Not about a possible military takeover but because of the growing hysteria fanned by radical right-wing websites and talk show hosts. The way things were going, it was not impossible for an armed confrontation between citizens and soldiers. So Abbott’s statements were designed to lower the temprature.
One such website posted “evidence” that the government was getting ready to hand the southwest back to Mexico:
“Report Of Foreign Tanks Coming Into US From Mexico As Jade Helm 15 Aligns Perfectly With ‘Aztlan’ States – Is The US Preparing To Give 7 States Back To Mexico?”
I’m sure the conspiracy-theory nutcases and paranoids will crow about stopping this nefarious plan by shedding light on it. The loons forced the government to alter their plans thanks to their vigilance and farsightedness, we’ll be told.
You can’t challenge the delusions of the delusional so there’s no sense in trying to reason with them. But perhaps it’s not entirely their fault. Perhaps they believe America has become a country where such a thing is possible.
I still think that’s loony tunes, but when you have a president who routinely skirted the law and prorogued Congress, a fevered imagination can take flight, posting all sorts of possibilities.
But truthfully, most should have known better.